Consider Shadowing Someone in Your Career Exploration

Many UST MBA candidates are embarking on engaging experience today.  The Graduate Business Career Services Department organized Shadow Day experiences with 40 professionals from General Mills, Target, UnitedHealth Group and many other local organizations.  The Job Shadow experience provides MBA students an opportunity to interact as well as see the world of a leading professional.

This experience provides ample opportunity to network, gain insight as well as hands on experience in a professional setting.  Although the scheduling and matching has already been completed, much more leg work is still required by the students.  If you are taking part in an experience like this, here are a few suggestions and questions to prepare to fully engage the “Shadower” as well as the “Shadowee.”

Self Assessment

Understanding your interests in a company, position, or industry are key factors when discussing your passion and displaying enthusiasm for a future professional career.  Be prepared with information about yourself, including STAR statements (Situation, Task, Action, Result), and a personal commercial.  Consider sharing classes or projects of interest, volunteering and professional experiences, any additional career exploration that has been completed and information about your work values, skills/abilities, work environment preferences, and/or work style.  Sharing this information allows the shadow professional to act as a guidepost during your education, career search as well as a referral after graduation.

Research the Organization/Position

Obtaining information on the organization as well as the position allows you to be properly prepared as well as knowledgeable.  Be aware of the company’s values, mission statement, competitors and goals.  Properly preparing and researching prior to a Job Shadow will allow you to sound knowledgeable and feel much more confident about the experience in general.  An additional benefit is learning more about the company and position beforehand to provide perspective before and after the experience.

Suggested questions to ask when completing a Shadow

Use your Shadow visit wisely to get all of your questions answered. It’s important that you prepare in advance a list of questions to ask during your visit. Some commonly asked questions are listed here:

  • What are your job responsibilities? Describe a typical day.
  • When and in what position did you start?
  • What do you like about your job? What are the pressures, problems and frustrations of your work? Is this typical of the field/organization?
  • What recommendations do you have for someone who would like to enter this field?
  • How competitive is entry into this field? What is the outlook for future openings?
  • What characteristics, skills and education does a person need to effectively do the job? What qualities make a person successful here?
  • What advice can you give someone who wishes to enter this field?
  • Describe some of your work values. How are those realized in your work?
  • What are the personal rewards of the job?
  • What challenges might a new employee encounter in adjusting to this job/organization?
  • What professional publications are read by people in this field?
  • What professional organizations do people in this field belong to?
  • Are there any internship opportunities offered through your organization?
  • Who else might you suggest I talk to for additional information? May I use your name to introduce myself?
  • For a soon to be MBA Graduate, what advice do you have in regards to my professional goals?

Jessica Bauer is a Career Specialist in the Graduate Business Career Services office.